September 07, 2023

Time Flies Tip # 1: This American Life

Hours upon hours in a chemo chair. Months of car trips to radiation treatment. 100 forevers racked up in waiting rooms. Too tired, too car sick, too anxious to read but deeply in need of a supreme cancer distraction?

Make your time fly with This American Life, a weekly radio broadcast/podcast hosted by Ira Glass that explores bizarre stories about everyday life. It is the kind of radio storytelling that has kept me sitting on the street in my car for 45 minutes glued to every word, and has also sent me running to the bathroom with laughter, almost peeing in my pants. Episode themes vary from “Fear of Sleep” to “Breakups” to “Giant Pool of Money”. Each radio episode is offered as a free mp3 for exactly one week, beginning the Monday after broadcast, and old episodes can be purchased at iTunes. Best of all, for those who become addicted, their archives stretch back to 1995. If you have never heard the show before and are looking for a good place to start, check out their list of favorites. Just remember, you may need a nurse nearby to help you to the bathroom!

For those of you who have heard This American Life, which is your favorite episode? I think mine is the one where Starlee Kine calls Phil Collins for advice after a breakup.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook


  1. Lisa F. Says:
    September 8th, 2008 at 10:22 AM

    I just listened to the Phil Collins breakup episode last weekend! Chris played it for me on the way back from Nevada City. SO flipping funny!

    My all-time favorite, though, has to be about the “little mermaid” message that was passed from voicemail to voicemail at Columbia University (during the years we were there) and became a campus legend. That one was an almost-peed-my-pants episode.

  2. Garnet Says:
    February 28th, 2009 at 11:10 AM

    I discovered this on Showtime a few months ago. I had heard of it on the radio but never stuck around long enough to listen. But the first TV episode I saw of it got me hooked. It was about a young adult who had a disease (I’m sorry I forget the name of the disease) that left him completely incapacitated and stuck in his bed. His mom had to give him injections almost hourly and feed him by purreeing his food and squirting it into his mouth and other extremely trying medical challenges. But his brain, his mind, his heart, his soul, and his eyes worked perfectly. I wish I could remember the name of this one! He ended up putting an ad on craigslist looking for a girlfriend and actually found one! They were in love and making plans to hopefully move out of his mother’s house in the forseeable future at the end of the episode! I’ll have to search that site you provided to try to find it.
    So it’s cool that we can not only listen to it as a podcast but we can watch in on the BrainDrainMachine, too! Thank you for the suggestion. I can really use it in my chemo slumps.

Leave a Comment